The results are in, and they’re dull.
Nobody got into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Not Barry Bonds, not Roger Clemens, and not Curt Schilling, who was named on 71.1% of ballots to lead the pack.
For the trio, it was the ninth year of ballot eligibility. They’ll have one more chance next season to get into the Hall, before the voting shifts from writers’ choice to the veteran committees.
Schilling, however, says he wants off the ballot for 2022, sharing the letter he wrote to officials on social media. Here it is, in full:
“Hey guys. Couple things. First off I am not sure I can express my level of gratitude and sincere appreciation at the graciousness, kindness and desire on all your parts to help me navigate this process. I can say at this point I am mentally done. I know math and I know trends and I know I will not attain the 75% threshold for induction.
As I’ve stated often over the past years to those I’ve spoken with in my heart I am at peace. Nothing, zero, none of the claims being made by any of the writers hold merit. In my 22 years playing professional baseball in the most culturally diverse locker rooms in sports I’ve never said or acted in any capacity other than being a good teammate.
I’ve certainly been exposed to racism and sexism and homophobia as it’s part of who human beings are. I’ve played with and talked with gay teammates. I’ve played with wife beaters, adulterers, assaulted (sic), drug addicts and alcoholics. I’ve never hit a woman, driven drunk, done drugs, PEDs or otherwise, assaulted anyone or committed any sort of crime.
But I’m now somehow in a conversation with two men who cheated, and instead of being accountable they chose to destroy others lives to protect their lie.
I will always have one thing they will forever chase. A legacy. Whatever mine is as a player it will be the truth, and one I earned for better or worse.
Having said all that the media has created a Curt Schilling that does not and has never existed. It’s one of the things that has allowed me to sleep at night. Not an ounce of that is to absolve myself of sin, Lord knows I’ve committed my share and will do so again. Never malicious, never to willfully or intentionally hurt another person. I was 100% accountable and still am. Even the thought of responding to claims of “nazi” or “racist” or any other term so watered down and rendered meaningless by spineless cowards who have never met me makes me ill. In modern times responding to such drivel somehow validates the claim.
My love of this country has always been worn on my sleeve. My desire to do the right thing and be a good person has driven most of my life choices. I stood at my locker 400+ times after my starts and took every question and answered honestly. Those people who stood there asking the questions KNOW what they are claiming is untrue yet they quote, re-quote and link to one another story after story that began as lies and grew into bigger ones. The game has made it clear it does not want me back and that’s fine, the game owes me exactly nothing. It gave a billion more times than it took and I’ll forever be deeply in debt to it. My desire to work with and teach young men the art of pitching will be tucked away.
But as I watch my wife battle cancer and go through the grueling soul crushing process of chemotherapy and see her hurt every time some idiot writes another hit piece linking to other hit pieces, none rooted in any sort of truth but rather story after story of “what he meant was” and “what he’s saying is” and “that’s a dog whistle for” all the while providing zero actual acts or quotes of the claims being made I can’t help but to go into deep conversation with my father.
“Never live your life trying to impress people you don’t know, or who don’t know you” and what that means in todays world.
Being an aspie has allowed it to flow like water off a ducks back. But to see the hurt I’m causing my wife and to have my children read and hear this stuff and then look at me and try and match a public “image” that in no way aligns with the man their father is , has been something I never considered.
I do not and never will “scoreboard” the cowards but if I’m not mistaken only Jamie Moyer and I “swept” the humanitarian awards players can win. Awards meant to define who the true man is apart from the player. These same writers voted on those awards. Do those awards and 22 years absent of a single validating event to support their claims define me? Or does a “what he meant to say” tweet? Based on the vote and the pike of dung authored by morally decrepit men like Dan Shaughnessy it’s the latter. I cannot and will not say or do anything to possibly soften a weak willed mans opinion of me if it is not something I believe. Just or not. I’ve chosen Arizona as the team I would have represented if I had been inducted and even though I heard someone there is calling for the DBacks front office to “meet” should the induction happen I’ll stand with that decision as I know Mr Kendrick to be an honorable and kind man. Should that change it most certainly would be the Phillies. What Mr Henry and Mr Werner did to my family and I in my final year has been forgiven but will never be forgotten.
One thing this text certifies is that I talk way too much but I know I was never a yes/no answer guy. I apologize for the insane length of this but I guess I needed an outlet and I sure as hell don’t want to dump any of this on a woman who just ended her 3rd chemo and provides the reasons I eat sleep and breathe everyday. Why the text? If by some miracle this would happen I have zero interest in taking questions from the very group who lined up to destroy my character with no regard to anyone in my life or being held to account for their lies. I would and will talk with the guys on the MLB network if you want that, but no one else.
I wanted to reiterate this final point. I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor.
Again, I won’t be able to thank you for your kindness and sincere interest in this process as it pertains to me. I’ll be forever grateful. God Bless you all again and one more time a final thank you for all your efforts to help my family and I.”
By now you know that Schilling has alienated himself from the baseball media and a number of fans due to his right-wing political stances and support of former President Donald Trump. He tweeted about lynching journalists, which I’m sure did not help his case, considering that…. journalists are the ones voting him into the HOF. He tweeted in support of the Capitol siege and has tangled constantly in recent years with anybody and everybody, including Mike Missanelli, who wants the Phillies to remove Schilling from their Wall of Fame.
The question is whether any of this really matters, as it pertains to Hall of Fame voting. The answer is unclear, because the balloting criteria leaves vague the topic of character, reading as such:
Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
So what happens is that baseball writers make their own individual interpretations, oftentimes stuck with the unenviable task of comparing apples to oranges when it comes to various on and off-field transgressions. Is being a MAGA worse than taking steroids? Betting on baseball? Being an asshole to fans?
Here’s Buster Olney’s suggestion:
Moving forward, the baseball writers would be best served by insisting the Hall of Fame apply the character clause itself. Let the HOF declare which players have passed its character test, before forwarding the ballot of eligible players to the writers.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 27, 2021
That’s a good idea, but again, it’s still an arbitrary topic. You still have small amount of people passing judgment on “character” and integrity,” it’s just a different group. The language needs to be narrowed or else the same problem will exist.
In terms of the baseball itself, Schilling’s resume should be good enough to get into the Hall. He won three World Series, was the 2001 World Series MVP, a six-time All Star, and struck out more than 3,000 batters. He has 216 wins, and while his career ERA of 3.46 is whatever, his postseason numbers really pop – 2.42 ERA, 11-2 record, 120 strikeouts, just 20 walks, and myriad big-game performances.
Bottom line, Schilling was on track to get in. He had previously crested 70%, and the trajectory had him close to the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement. Maybe he’ll get in via the Veterans Committee, but this path is no longer viable.